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volume 1, issue 39

Today in loonygames:

New!! The Archives have been cleaned up, fead links fixed, and printable versions restored! Also, don't miss the new comments on the front page!

Livin' With The Sims: theAntiELVIS explores the wild and wacky world that is Will Wright's The Sims, asking the inevitable quesiton, "is The Sims the first step toward a virtual life where everyone is Swedish?"

Pixel Obscura: Josh Vasquez on Omikron: The Nomad Soul.

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Random Feature :

5 Years of Doom!: Last year, on the 5th anniversary of Doom, we took a look back at how the industry has changed in its wake.

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Pad Happy:
Gameboy for President





By Nick Ferguson

Nick F. ponders your loss of gaming innocence, and proposes a cure for those jaded-gamer blues...

o you remember when games were played just for fun? These days (and I think this is particularly true if you work in the industry, or write for a games site) it sometimes feels like you’re playing a particular game because everybody else is, or because the hype has grown to such proportions that you’d lose your "true gamer" credentials by not joining in. Thanks to the combined growth of both the ‘net and the popularity of our favorite hobby, there is such massive coverage of the games industry that very little emerges as a surprise these days. Do you remember when some kid in the playground would hold an audience of spellbound with tales of some great game he’d discovered (in my case, the game was Ultima)? Before every other magazine had a game review section, the system of word-of-mouth ("Have you played…?") recommendation meant that every game somehow seemed like a secret you discovered. I think it’s natural to feel certain games are sacred and personal to you. Even today, it’s an unusual feeling to think that millions of others know the corridors and layout of Goldeneye as well as I do - after all the time I’ve spent playing them, I feel they’re MY levels.

OK, so there’s something particularly post-modern about feeling nostalgic for your youth when you’re still in your early twenties - but if you recognize the massive developments in technology during our lives as counting several generations, it’s not so lame. After all, when are we ever going to get to play games like the simple NES classics Super Mario Bros, Metroid or Zelda again? We’ve all grown up and graduated to more serious gaming fare: Half-Life, Baldur’s Gate, X-Wing Alliance and Alpha Centauri are all far more sophisticated than anything we played five, ten, fifteen years ago. Even console games are becoming more complex – look to the evolution of the D-pad into the ergonomic monstrosities of today if you want evidence.

There is a shining beacon on the horizon, though. If you have recently found yourself feeling deflated because Quake 3 Test didn’t live up to your (massively over-inflated) expectations, or you can’t think of a single PlayStation game you’re looking forward to after Dino Crisis, why not turn to the Gameboy Color for solace? At this point, I suspect half of you are nodding sagely, but the other half are shaking their heads thinking "This guys has written some bad shit before, but this…" Well, guess what – you’re wrong! The Gameboy Color is the best thing to happen to console gaming since, well, the PlayStation and N64 (to be truthful), but it feels like a return to the glory days of the NES. More to the point, the Gameboy Color isn’t just the original Gameboy "in color", but a much more powerful and sophisticated machine. Granted, the first batch of titles (including Zelda DX and Tetris DX) were not massively improved over the originals, but new Color-only games like Super Mario DX mean that you have, essentially, a portable NES in your hands!

(Continued on next page)


Credits: Pad Happy logo illustrated and is © 1999 Dan Zalkus. Pad Happy is © 1999 Nick Ferguson. All other content is © 1999 loonyboi productions. Unauthorized reproduction is strictly prohibited, so don't try it, or you'll get some real force feedback.